North Carolina: 24
Georgia Tech: 31
The 7th Ramblin’ Wreck would face ACC foe North Carolina in the 1999 homecoming game in front of a sell-out crowd at Bobby Dodd Stadium. North Carolina entered the game with a record of 1-3, having lost consecutive conference games to FSU and Clemson.
The Jackets took the ball to open the game and promptly marched 58 yards to the UNC 22 yard line. Just as it looked as if Tech would again get off to a fast start, Joe Hamilton lost a fumble to Billy Dee Greenwood of North Carolina, and the Tar Heels took over at their own 17.
UNC looked great on their next drive, marching 83 yards in seven plays for the game’s first score. The touchdown came on a 30 yard run by Ronald Curry midway through the opening period.
On their next drive, the Jackets again marched towards the Tar Heel end zone, moving 57 yards in 11 plays to the UNC 22 yard line. It was here that the drive stalled and the Jackets were forced to attempt a field goal. Just as it looked like Tech might chip into the lead, Luke Manget missed a 40 yard field goal attempt off the crossbar and Carolina took over again at her own 22. Needless to say, it was a very unusual start for the high powered Yellow Jackets offense.
Early in the second quarter, the Tar Heels caught a bad break when freshman defensive end Greg Gathers burst through and sacked Curry for a 7 yard loss. Curry suffered a torn Achilles tendon and would miss the remainder of the season. The Tech defense held on the drive and Carolina was forced to punt. But the Jackets’ bad luck continued when Marvious Hester fumbled the punt and the visitors recovered at the 50 yard line. New Tar Heel quarterback Luke Huard led his team 48 yards to the 2 yard line before fumbling the snap on third and one. North Carolina recovered, however, and added a 24 yard field goal to take a 10-0 lead midway through the period.
After another unsuccessful drive, Tech’s defense was able to hold the Tar Heels yet again. But Marvious Hester fumbled once more, and Greg Harris recovered at the Tech 16 yard line. The defense stepped up again, however, and Carolina was forced to settle for another field goal, giving them a 13-0 lead that could’ve easily been 21-0.
With little time remaining in the first half, the Ramblin’ Wreck offense came alive. Dez White returned the kick to the Tech 38 and Hamilton quickly connected twice with White to move into Carolina territory. The Heisman candidate then went deep on the next play, hitting Kelly Campbell for a 47 yard touchdown pass to cut the Carolina lead to 6 with less than one minute to play in the half. The Jackets would trail 13-7 with two quarters remaining.
The Tech defense got a stop to begin the second half and Hester held on to the punt and returned to the Tech 41 yard line. One the first play of the drive, Hamilton went back to Campbell who raced into the end zone for a 59 yard touchdown reception to give the Jackets the lead at 14-13.
On Carolina’s next drive, Ricardo Wimbush intercepted a tipped pass at the Ramblin’ Wreck 32. The Jackets attacked quickly as Sean Gregory and Kerry Watkins ran for 18 and 26 yards, respectively. The 68 yard drive ended with a two yard touchdown run by Phillip Rogers to extend the Tech lead to 21-13 midway through the third quarter.
Late in the third, Tech was driving again before Hamilton lost a fumble on a 24 yard run to the UNC 44 yard line. Errol Hood recovered for the Tar Heels, returning the ball to the Tech 36 and shifting the momentum back to the visitors. Huard then tied the game for Carolina, scoring on a four yard run and connecting with Alge Crumpler for the two point conversion to tie the game at 21 apiece.
In the middle of the final quarter, the Tar Heels look the lead at 24-21 on a 36 yard field goal by McGee. The Jackets, meanwhile, looked as if they were trying to give the game away when Manget missed a 39 yard field goal and Hamilton threw interceptions at the Carolina 21 and the Tech 10 yard lines; the second interception came with less than three minutes remaining in the game. But just when it looked as though Carolina would solidify the victory, the Ramblin’ Wreck defense held their opponent on a fourth and goal from the two yard line, giving the ball back to Hamilton and the Tech offense with 1:10 to play.
Hamilton hit Campbell on passes of 31 and 35 yards as he led his team 79 yards on 7 plays to give Manget an attempt at the game-tying field goal with just five seconds remaining. Despite his early misses, the freshman kicker nailed the 36 yarder, tying the score at 24 and sending the game into overtime.
In the extra period, Carolina won the toss and elected to play defense. The Jackets scored after four straight runs, the final a 6 yard draw by Hamilton for the touchdown to make it 31-24. Carolina failed to answer on their possession, throwing three incomplete passes after an initial four yard gain to begin the drive. Despite turning the ball over six times to Carolina’s one, the Jackets had pulled out the first overtime victory in school history!
UNC – 18
GT – 23
UNC – 276
GT – 237
UNC – 10-20-76
GT – 14-27-273
UNC – 3-0
GT – 4-4
UNC – 1
GT – 2
UNC – 9-75
GT – 7-51
Notable individual statistics:
Hamilton – 77 yards rushing, 1 TD; 14-27, 273 yards passing, 2 TD
Campbell – 7 receptions for 203 yards, 2 TD
Games Summary: http://www.ramblinwreck.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/100999aaa.html